The Drinking Water and Groundwater Protection Division protects public health by helping to assure safe, affordable drinking water is available to all and by protecting the quality of the state’s groundwater.
The Division’s Drinking Water Program is comprised of four sections:
The Engineering and Operations Section oversees the construction and operation of Vermont’s public water systems. This is accomplished through water system construction permits and operating permits; assisting in the management of the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Loan Program; water system inspections; the water system operator certification program; technical assistance; management of emergency events; and investigations of contamination events and population disease outbreak that may be related to drinking water. The Section’s Capacity Development Program gives municipalities the tools they need in order to set adequate user rates and plan for expensive system maintenance/ replacement projects.
The Compliance and Support Section is responsible for ensuring that water systems are in compliance with their permits, the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, Vermont statutes, and the Vermont Water Supply Rule. When voluntary compliance efforts fail, this section initiatives enforcement actions and assists the Enforcement and Litigation staff in these activities. This section also provides general outreach and education to owners and operators of water systems, regulates non-community water systems such as motels and small businesses and provides administrative support to the rest of the Drinking Water program.
The Water Resources Section focuses on water source protection by issuing source permits, overseeing well completion reports and groundwater reclassifications, providing assistance during droughts, and promoting source protection planning and technical assistance.
The Division’s Wastewater Program is comprised of three major regulatory programs:
The Indirect Discharge Program issues permits for land-based sewage treatment systems (such as septic tank-leach field systems and treatment facility-spray field systems) larger than 6,500 gallons per day. It also permits the land-based disposal of non-sewage wastes such as those resulting from food processing. In all these systems, soils are part of the processes providing further treatment of the wastewater.
The Underground Injection Program regulates the discharge of certain non-sanitary wastes into an opening in the ground.
The Wastewater System and Potable Water Supply Program issues water supply and wastewater disposal permits to single family homes, other buildings, mobile home parks and campgrounds which have flows less than 6,500 gallons per day. It also issues permits for subdivisions, municipal connections, and sewer line extensions and administers the licensed designer program. Program staff are located in five Regional Offices.